The week QPR got relegated and I had manflu in Leeds

Sun 10 – Sat 16 May

download (2)Last blog week started with the dismal news that QPR had been relegated back to the Championship. And via an abysmal 6-0 defeat at Man City. Then during the rest of the week came out news about the massive fine QPR still has to pay to be allowed back into the Championship and the tensions within the team with a number of players being identified as not interested in playing for QPR. The key characteristic seemed to be mercenaries who have just been there for their salary and certainly nothing to do with pride in the club. At least for the last home match on Saturday QPR beat Newcastle 2-1 and amazingly coming back from 1-0 down. Gonna be difficult next season, Championship is like a swamp that is easy to get stuck in for years.

An intense week at work
man-311326_1280Work last week was all about sorting the 250+ applications to my Tech for Good grants programme to a shortlist of a potential 13 to fund. Everything worked out well because of good preparation and the help from my brilliant colleague Nissa. By the close of Monday me and Nissa had managed to read through all 250+ applications, knock out about 120, and then divvy out the remaining strongest proposals to shortlisting pairs made up of one person with grantmaking expertise and one with experience in digital development.

Going to Leeds and dealing with manflu
Apart from Monday, I also worked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week though I was not always in the office. So well over my paid hours such that I need to claim at least a half day back as TOIL. Tuesday was my only non-work day last week and on that day my cold (manflu) started to kick in. figure-552115__180Wednesday I finished my own allocation of application forms to be shortlisted then travelled up to to Leeds for mHealthHabitat’s PdDigital 15 (People-driven Digital Health and Wellbeing) event – a workshop to look at how people can use digital to develop their own health solutions. The train journey was fine and spent catching up on unread editions of the Health Service Journal and my latest book. The countryside outside looked lush and green from my train seat. The evening welcome reception at the Open Data Institute went well but by then I was quite unwell. I felt hot and cold plus a bit giddy. I had to opt out of the social curry and just went back to my hotel for a wonderfully weird semi-hallucinatory sleep. It was actually quite nice listening to the sounds of city (I had to have window open because I was so hot) and drifting in and out of thoughts that only sometimes made sense.

mark2I felt better after my sleep (though dodgy tummy) and made the event on Thursday – I really hope I didn’t pass on my infection to any other people. It was a meeting of the great and good with health/social care-based twitter accounts. And there were also some fascinating examples of health improving digital products that people themselves have created. There is definitely something in the power of digital to impact well on our health and wellbeing – it really annoys me when people only concentrate on the negatives. However there are a lot of ongoing issues that are hard to deal with such as constant desire for reassurance everything is ‘safe’ and ‘effective’. Plus very few have worked out how to make innovatory digital products financially sustainable; clearly there is the argument that things should be created for everyone’s benefit and given away free but that is clearly not how medications are created and constantly improved. I realised at PdDigital 15 that, as with so many things, it is not about people wanting to make fortunes but simply wanting to make a living and doing something they believe in.

Frenetic Friday
Perfectly decent train journey back on Thursday night and a little alcohol nightcap to help me sleep / combat my manflu. Friday I was back in the office with my voice being very affected by my infection and sometimes drifting into being incredibly deep and coldy. It really was Frenetic Friday with me and Nissa concentrating on meeting with the other shortlisters to get to our shortlist of 13 potential projects for funding then setting everything up for further info to be collected and analysis done to get within the next fortnight to the half dozen we could fund. I managed to leave the office not too late and had a simple Friday night in with Dave and an early night with my books.

My day off mainly spent with mum at the hospital
bethesda-naval-medical-center-80380__180Tuesday was a strange day. Mum went to her GP on Monday and got an emergency hospital scan the next day to check she did not have a clot in her leg. She is still in a lot of pain following the clot discovered at Christmas and that is really impeding her mobility. I met her at the hospital after her scan and we saw the doctor together. No clot and her new anticoagulant is definitely working (it’s one that means you don’t need constant monitoring of your INR as with warfarin and the doctor actually said to me ‘Why are you not on that?’). Mum then had to go down for an x-ray but again nothing major. It appears the pain and mobility problems are due to a cyst, varicose veins, and arthritis – so very much linked to ageing. It was suggested she have a steroid injection in her knee but that could cause a stomach bleed because she is also taking the anticoagulant.

My beautiful weekends
With such busy weeks, I really appreciated my weekends and those at the beginning and end of the last blog week were pretty good. Sunday previously (the beginning of this blog post) I walked across St James Park to get to the gym and then walked back home across it later that day when it was packed with people for the VE Day celebrations (the concert the night before on the TV was absolutely shit). I met Dave at Waterstones to get my free birthday cake. Back to his for routine stuff of sorting laundry, shaving and doing my weekly meds addiction-71574_1280then sorting out work emails. The rest of the day was quiet with the best thing being me lying in bed reading and hearing Dave scream whilst watching ‘The Enfield Haunting’. He is very excited about the Chelsea Flower Show, one of the highlights of year for him especially the last Saturday when they sell off the plants – I have to go along and help him carry everything back to his place.

Saturday (the end of this blog post) I also walked to the gym and back again across a much quieter park. Lunch with Dave and a mini-tour of my favourite local charity shops but I only bought a couple of books. A restful day very much with a focus on recovering. I had a very early night being in bed by 9pm; there was nothing on the TV and would rather do some reading. The only annoying thing about the whole day was finding out that we had missed out on a really good local church summer fete that had taken place.

Health and fitness; personal development
Gym three times last blog week – Sunday morning, Tuesday morning, and Saturday morning. I am trying to do 12 mins on the rowing machine at each session (good for the thighs and back) and then weights providing a good all-over workout. Though on Saturday with the man-flu still lingering, I took it gently and didn’t do the rowing. Weight taken on Tuesday and stable at 13-7. And as I have already written, I was gripped by manflu from Tuesday onwards.

Because of such a busy week particularly with work, my personal development targets did not progress as much as I wanted. I did manage to do a few Duolingo sessions but not I did not hit my every day target. And there was little personal development done around strengthening my own digital skills. All a bit frustrating.

Two books read last week. The first was ‘Wasp’ by Eric Frank Russell. Written 1957, it is about a human disguised as an alien and put into alien territory to stir up trouble (Terrans are at war with said aliens). A clever book that shows the power of terrorism decades before 9/11 and 7/7. One of the most fascinating things for me with sci-fi is how it frequently shows people’s imaginations are constricted by the time they live in. Russell’s Terrans and aliens post letters and use typewriters and CCTV does not exist nor does the internet. We now know it would be very much harder to fight the Orwellian type state than Russell thought.

werewolf-620743__180‘The Last Werewolf’ by Glen Duncan is a far more recent book (2011). As the title says, it is about a man who is the last werewolf. So it’s supernatural / fantasy but with a thriller and philosophy thrown in. The questions, issues and thoughts would be those raised by any of being who were the last of their race. My main criticism would be that the book feels like it was written to be made into a film – an annoyance of many modern books. However I am moved to check out Duncan’s other books.

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